Back when I got my 2006 Dodge Ram 1500, one of my first updates was a Diablosport tuning device with a preprogrammed performance engine tune for 93 octane. When I got my 2006 Ram used in 2007, it had about 18,000 miles on it and I installed the Diablosport Predator 93 octane performance tune around 20,000 miles. Today, my Ram has over 130,000 miles on it, many of which were accumulated while pulling either a horse trailer or a car trailer – so those are 130,000 hard miles. My Diablosport Predator that I got in 2007 still works perfectly, and I still use it to check/erase trouble codes. The see-through-blue unit has been in the center console of my truck in temperatures ranging from -40F to over 100F, and the unit still works just as well as it did when I got it.
A few weeks back, I was talking about my classic Diablosport Predator and how I still use it, and a member of the Diablosport team saw my comment. He reached out and asked if I would be interested in testing the new Predator, and of course I said “hell yes!” Since then, the unit arrived in the mail, I installed the unit in my truck and I have logged a couple hundred miles with the new device, so it is time for the review.
A More Streamlined Package
The original Diablosport Predator tuning device that I got back in 2007 is part number U7137X, and it is a similar unit to that used by many Hemi-powered vehicles from that era. In addition to trucks, Diablosport made one of these early Predator units for Challengers, Chargers, 300s and Magnums, so they were very popular. When you look up the modern Diablosport Predator 2, it looks very similar to the unit from the early 2000s, but it is actually quite a bit smaller – which is nice. It takes up less space in the center console, but more importantly, it easily fits into an average universal cell phone holder, making it easy to mount on the windshield.
Thanks to advancements in technology, the Diablosport Predator 2 has a larger multicolor screen that is easier to read in all conditions compared to the U7137X dot matrix screen. That makes it much easier to use all functions, but it is particularly helpful when it comes to using the gauge readout function of the Predator 2. I will talk more about that later on in the review.
Quicker, Easier and More User Friendly Interface
Before installing the engine tune from the Diablosport Predator 2, I had to first unpair my old Predator U7137X. That included returning to the stock tuning parameters for the PCM and the TCM, which is a fairly time consuming process.
Once that was done, I installed the performance tune for the Predator 2, which seemed to take a bit less time, but I did not put a clock to both to see exactly how much less time was taken by the new device. In any case, the mutlicolor screen is worlds nicer than the old Game Boy-style dot matrix. The old screen can be hard to read on a bright day, but the Predator 2 screen is like looking at a cell phone or some other modern device. Also, the buttons-to-screen interface on the original Predator is a bit slow and clunky as you switch between gauge readouts or modes, but once again, the new Predator functions more like an application on a cell phone.
Really, if you have an original Diablosport Predator that you use regularly, the new design, controls, screen and interface are worth upgrading to the new device. This is especially true if you would like to have easier access to monitor gauge readout. All Diablosport Predator devices have the ability to display a long list of gauge readouts from the engine and transmission, but with the U7137X and the old screen design, you can only view one at a time and that one is on the dot matrix screen. On the other hand, the Predator 2 lets you select and view up to eight different gauges at once on the screen, all of which are easy to read on the mutlicolor LCD screen. Plus, with the Predator 2 being small enough to fit in a cell phone holder, you can position it so that you can watch the various gauges while driving. Also, the OBDII port plug has the cable oriented to run along the dash, making it easier to tuck the cable up out of the way when you are using the device as a gauge screen while driving.
Revised Performance Tuning
As mentioned above, prior to getting the Diablosport Predator 2, I had been driving my 2006 Ram 1500 with the 5.7-liter Hemi for about 16 years with the U7137X 93 octane performance tune, covering about 110,000 miles. During the time, the truck has been driven in extreme temperatures and conditions, including weekends where I would use the truck to tow my 1972 Demon 340 to the track, drop the trailer and race the car and the truck. It runs high 14s with the Diablosport tune, for those wondering.
Over the course of those 16 years and 110k miles, I have gotten very accustomed to how my truck feels – from throttle response to shift characteristics. When I installed the Predator 2, I found that the 93 octane performance tune from the Predator U7137X is gone, making the 91 octane performance tune the highest output option that comes with the device. I was concerned that this lesser tune would make my truck feel sluggish after all of these years with the 93 tune, but as soon as I got out onto the road, it was quite the opposite. The throttle response feels a bit crisper, as do the shifts, so I reached out to the contact at Diablosport who provided me with the device. He explained that the performance tunes on the Predator 2 were not the exact same performance tunes from the U7137X, so while the 93 octane tune has been removed to meet CARB emissions, the available tunes have been improved upon over the years. As a result, I am losing a couple horsepower without the 93 octane tune, but the new 91 octane tune on the Predator 2 has clearly improved the performance of my truck.
Aside from the throttle response being crisper, the characteristics of the transmission function make the biggest difference. There were times with my previous tune where it would kind of clunk from gear to gear at lower RPM, but with the new tune, all of the shifts seem to be smoother – even with over 130,000 miles on the odometer. Compared to stock shifts, both Diablosport devices brought the transmission to life, but the newer unit definitely offers a better performance feel from the shifts.
For those wondering, my entire drivetrain has been untouched since the truck was new – just oil changes and routine maintenance over all of those years of hauling horses in Michigan winter and race cars in the summer.
If you recently acquired a third gen (2002-2008) Dodge Ram 1500 with the 5.7-liter Hemi, a Diablosport Predator 2 tuning device is a must-have. The performance tunes make the truck far more enjoyable to drive, making the truck quite a bit quicker without hurting fuel economy. You can also check and clear your own trouble codes, which you are likely to encounter in a truck that is at least 15 years old. If you have the older Predator tuning device with “canned” tunes, the Predator 2 is far more user friendly and the revised tunes do feel better than the tunes on the older units – making it well worth the upgrade.